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Ffrith-Y-Garreg-Wen (Round Barrow(s)) — Images (click to view fullsize)

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Penycloddiau (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

My first time here was slightly hampered by small children and knock 'em over winds, seven years later in thick sunshine I'm back for a full circuit, and a gander at that restored cairn. The walk from car to hill fort entrance is no more than fifteen minutes, it's all up and the views expand accordingly. The entrance to the fort isn't as impressive and imposing as the rest of the fort would suggest, that's mainly because it isn't the actual entrance, but rather the route of the Offas Dyke path. There are two entrances, both on the east side, so that's the route I take, counter clockwise. The single bank starts off quite low and mellow, steadfastly it follows the edge of the hill up and over hillocks and spurs, in one place a massive hollow is come across, but the bank carries on. But by the time I reach the only entrance I can say is definitely an entrance they have grown to at least six feet in height.
Some shenanigans have taken place here at the entrance, a massive strip of grass has been removed and covered in a wooden fence, laying horizontal over the scar, a big pile of plastic covered something has been placed in the inner ditch, from the rubble taken from the forts defences someone has created a small throne, shenanigans I tell you.
The walk along the eastern ramparts is now gaining in some more height, the views to the east are long but a bit flat and farmy, there are also two banks now. Wheeling in the far distant sky is a Red Kite, an unmistakeable silhouette against the deep blue of the sky, this is the farthest north I've seen them.
Now the north end of the fort has been achieved the ramparts have grown in number again, four there are now, and very good they look too covered in unusually bright pink heather, in fact, over half the fort is covered in pink heather. From here I can just see the trig point on Moel Y Parc, behind which is a barrow and a cairn, I'll have to go there one day and see if there's much difference between the two. I stop off here for a look at the restored cairn, and decide that it is a very loose restoration, it looks good but longevity has eluded it's restorers. Turning south I retrace the kids and mine steps from seven years ago, two large banks make it most of the journey down the west end, punctuated by a slight and possibly modern entrance with a stile, and some fairly convincing round house platforms. Then it's back up to the false entrance at the south end and the view beckons us on to the next hill fort over Moel Arthur, but I went up there not long ago and it's almost tea time ive gotta go. So I go.
This is a superb hill fort, one of the largest in Wales I suspect, and that cairn needs to be seen before it fades back into the well trodden hill top.

Penycloddiau cairn (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

When I came here in 2007 I stood right next to if not on top of this bronze age cairn, and never noticed it. Of course I noticed there was the predictable small walkers pile of stones on the highest ground but, apart from that I remained clueless. Until Thesweetcheat went up there and found that the thing had been restored, of course that means I'll have to go back for another look, four years it took since I found out about it. Not bad.
The cairn is right at the northern tip of the fort of the same name, and right next to one of the busiest footpaths in North Wales. It looks good but I'm not sure about it though, the stones of the kerb are loose and simply placed on the ground in a circle around the slight mound. Some of the stones have already started to spread, I replaced a few but they leave a big brown mark where the grass has died. Honestly, I cant really see it remaining long in the shape it is now, which is a shame because it looks good, from a distance.

Mynydd Mawr (Round Cairn) — Images

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Craig Cwmbychan (Round Cairn) — Images

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Mynydd Mawr (Round Cairn) — Images

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Moel Eilio (Cairn(s)) — Images

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Y Garn, Nantlle Ridge (Cairn(s)) — Images

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Yr Wyddfa (Cairn(s)) — Images

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Penycloddiau (Hillfort) — Images

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Moel y Gaer (Hillfort) — Images

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Penycloddiau cairn (Cairn(s)) — Images

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Moel Arthur (Hillfort) — Images

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Tumulus de Kercado (Tumulus (France and Brittany)) — Fieldnotes

I all but saved this one to the last, Kercado is the one that got away last time, the one that nagged at me most for not seeing it. So I cleared our schedule grabbed the camera and torch and promised the kids some crepes, mmmmm pancakes.
It didn't go down well to find the age old creperie had been bought and turned into a curry house, Rogan Josh ? in the middle of the afternoon ?
The kids said no.
So we made our way over to the Tumulus, an underwhelming description if ever I heard one, and paid the disinterested youth. In receipt of said pay we received a quickly translated into English pamphlet about the "Tumulus", so, armed to the teeth with information and exploratory tools we entered the woods.
A sign by the paying entrance fee area on the wall proclaimed the tumulus to be 4500 Before JC, Jimeny Cricket, now that's an old place.
The bright and breezy walk through the trees took but a minute before we were brought face to face with Carnac's beating heart. Perhaps, certainly maybe definitely the oldest of all the amazements currently found around Carnac, Spaceship mark says it's 4800 years BC, Bloomin Crikey that's an old place.
As we approached the entrance to the tomb a couple came out and went off round the back, giving us the chamber to ourselves for a while, we went inside. Carnac's beating heart had a puddle in it, the analogy lost a bit there, then Eric hit his sister and he got sent outside to find a naughty step to sit on. Honestly, even in here ?
But neither stumbling splashes nor minor miscreants could mar this moment, I admired the huge floating capstone above us and I searched for carvings, but I couldn't find them, perhaps the pamphlet could shed some light on them, oh right.. Eric's got it.
Found during excavations were flint, diorite and jadeite axes, and middle and late neolithic pottery, restored in 1925. Jane says now that it's as old as 5000bc, that's 7000BP, Bum pack that's an old place, and getting older all the while apparently.
I wish I could've stayed there for ages, but someone was hanging round the entrance, obviously our time was up, come in number 42.
So we followed the stone circle around the tumulus, people rarely go around the back, and here in the woods we found a good arc of small to medium stones. Burl says of the circle , it is an incomplete misshapen ring of 27 stones (we didn't see that many), graded in height from a six footer at the ESE, the best preserved arc is at the south, there are no stones at the north, he strangely doesn't mention the surmounting pillar, which must have gone up around the same time as the circle, I'm presuming. I wonder how far down it goes, does it touch the capstone ? what did it all look like before it was restored ? what did it all look like when the stone circle and menhir was put up ? Why does Doctor who always pick fit young girls to take to exotic locations ? they never fully appreciate it.

This is an absolute wonder of a place, somewhere to see in all seasons in all weathers, so with an afternoon in summer under our belts we pick Eric up from his naughty step and leave.
Our ferry tomorrow leaves at 11am, and it could take as long as eight hours to get there, so we leave in the middle of the night in the most torrential rain you've ever seen, got back into England to find scorchio sunshine, then we ran out of petrol with no money, aaargh, pain is the cleanser, pain is the cleanser!!!

Alignements de Kerlescan — Fieldnotes

This is the third and last of the three main alignments (heading east) . Thirteen rows of 555 stones running for only 250 meters, the tallest of which is 13 feet tall, I say only when comparing it with the other two sets of stones.
The smaller wooded alignments of Petite Menec are a further 3 to 4 hundred meters east.
Fences kept me away from the stones and a tour guide party just emptied itself out onto the road side, they're all over the place, I'm off to see the dolmen. The wonderful dolmen of Kercado.

Cromlech de Kerlescan Ouest (Cromlech (France and Brittany)) — Fieldnotes

This cromlech is actually rectangular, and forms the starting point of the Kerlescan stone rows. Fenced off from the multitudes access is only by small guided tours. I intended to come back later in the evening for a wee sneak but never gone the chance. So I only saw it from the road, fleetingly, between tourists and stables.
Fortunately Sir Aubrey (why not) describes it thoroughly, abbreviated thus...........
Tall granite pillars in a rectangle 78m x 74m, on the right side, from the road, the east side of the rectangle is a straight line of 18 stones, the south side nearest the road is a shallow convex arc of 11 stones, the left west side is equally convex and also of 11 stones. There are no stones at the north side, but close to it is a neolithic long mound called a tertre with a tall menhir at it's western egde. The three sided structure is therefore more of a horseshoe.

I wish I'd had time to come back later, it sounds a very curious site.

Alignements de Kermario — Fieldnotes

The Kermario alignments are my favourite of these three road side alignments, they've got several things going for them, the dolmen in the corner of the field, the ruined windmill that's been turned into a very effective look out point, eleven hundred meters of rows of megaliths, we shouldn't call these stones because it doesn't have the word mega in it. Then when you think your going stone blind, when your seeing stones every where and feeling punch drunk on the old stuff, you can take a break have a crepe and a beer and buy postcard or a porcelain dolmen. Then head back out into the utter nonsense that is the Carnac stone rows. Do make sure you take a look at the dolmen in the corner it shouldn't be overlooked and the windmill ruin is definitely the best place to appreciate the megaliths.
At the end of the Kermario rows is the right turn that takes you to the Kercado tumulus. The mustest of sees.

Alignements de Ménec — Fieldnotes

I was following road signs to get to Carnac from the D768 near Mane Kerioned, I wasn't sure where in Carnac it would take me, so I sat back and enjoyed the evening. It was about 9pm and we'd had a long day, the sun was sinking below the trees but not the horizon, but I just wanted to "do" the stone road, the D196, the road that passes all the stone rows.

So there I was taking my time, minding my own business driving down just another country lane, when the trees either side of the road gave way to open fields, open fields with more standing stones than you've ever seen in one place in your life, I guarantee it.
I immediately knew where I was, at the far west end of the Menec rows, 400 meters away from the Cromlech that starts the stone rower heading east.
I had to quickly pull over at the side of the road, we were in the rows, the road cuts straight through it all, abominable I know, but it's done, and where else in the world can you park your car in a world heritage site, cant be many.
I pulled the car round the corner and parked in a more proper layby, jumped out and twoddled over the road to the fence that still keeps summer visitors out. Slack jawed incomprehension, speechless, and utterly mystified I took just two pictures and returned to the car.
"Have you seen all them stones" I asked the kids,
They admitted that they were hard to miss,
"and they carry on for another two miles right next to this road" I enthused, this got them,
"Really? why? "
Aint that the question that keeps you going.
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After visiting over a thousand ancient places and driving between fifteen to twenty thousand miles every year I can only conclude that I'm obsessed with these places, and finding this website seven years ago only compounded that obsession, at least I'm not alone anymore.

My favourite places are:

Ring of Brodgar
Balnauran of Clava
Nine stones close
Bryn Celli Ddu
The Druids circle (penmaenmawr)
HafodyGors Wen
Gwal y Filiast
Grey Wethers
Boscawen Un
La Roche au Fees
Talati De Dalt

and these are only the ones that immediatly spring to mind, so many stones and not enough lifetimes.

My TMA Content: